If you would have told me a year ago that the follow up to the massive misstep that was Quantum of Solice would be my favorite movie of the year, including The Dark Knight Rises, I would have laughed in your face. However, as fate would have it, that is certainly the case. 007 returns with a bang in Skyfall, and it is the most exhilarating film of the year.
When director Martin Campbell released Casino Royale in 2005, it reintroduced us to James Bond unlike he’s ever been. Not that it was a “dark” Bond, but it was certainly more realistic than the previous outings. That serious tone, however, must be credited to Daniel Craig, the most absorbing, threatening, and sizzling Bond to ever hit the screen. I still regard Casino Royale as one of my all time favorite movies mainly because it‘s not just a good Bond film. It‘s a good film. Then the sequel, directed by Marc Forster, hit to somewhat critical acclaim, but serious Bond fans, and movie fans in general, virtually hated it. Which begs the question, why do we need another one? Well, whether you have Daniel Craig on board or not, you’re bound have at least one misstep when you’re rebooting a 50 plus year franchise. Thankfully, there are quite a few reasons why Skyfall works. One, you have Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) on board. Second, you have Academy Award winner Javier Bardem to play the main villain. That alone should be enough to win you over. Bardem has proven he is a phenomenal film villain in No Country for Old Men. Throw that, along with the eye popping visuals, into a mixer, and what will you get? The best film of 2012 thus far.
Skyfall’s plot is quite simple. James Bond is thought to be dead after an accident occurs from the heart of MI6, the British CIA. While Bond is enjoying his time of peace, MI6 is attacked by an unknown terrorist organization, and M., the leader of the team, seems to be the target. Bond returns, and after investigation of the cyber attacks and physical attacks pursue, the suspect may just be the result of a secret held by one of MI6’s very own.
This is certainly one of the best, if not the best, Bond film of all time, and the only real contender it may have is Casino Royale, my personal favorite. Daniel Craig is simply astounding in Skyfall, taking a huge step up from his lackluster performance in Quantum of Solice. Judi Dench is spot on as M., providing a strong willed leader of the MI6 organization, and the rest of the supporting cast, including Ralph Fiennes, (Lord Voldemort with a nose) and Albert Finney, is great, and the character of Q., played by Ben Whishaw, who is basically Bond’s “tech-guy,” is terrificly enjoyable. But it must be stated that Javier Bardem is outstanding as the main villain in the film. Sure he is over the top, but unlike most over the top Bond film villains, it doesn’t get to the point where it is cheesy. He grasps the role and has so much fun that the joy explodes from the screen.
Sam Mendes directs this film terrifically, the music, especially that by Adelle in a mesmerizing opening title sequence, is beautiful, and the visuals are so delicious that you will want to lick them off the screen. The action is great (including one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen in a film), the dialogue is great, the performances are great. If there are any flaws in the film, which there certainly are, they aren’t even worth mentioning. Skyfall is not just a Bond film. It’s not just an action film. It’s a film. A mesmerizing film at that.
Run Time: 145 mins
Rated: PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language, and smoking
Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris, Ben Whishaw, and Albert Finney
Writer(s): Robert Wade, John Logan, Neal Purvis
Director(s): Sam Mendes